‘Treat yourself with kids gloves on’

*EXTRA CARE IS REQUIRED*

My take on dealing with anxiety …. especially during times of uncertainty such as today.

A morning cuppa is my go to as it signals the start of the day. I usually have this in bed while catching up on the news on my phone or having a quick flick through social media (my bad I know !) However, I don’t want these little pink pills to become part of my norm. But I’ve noticed recently they have been creeping in to my morning routine to help with feelings of overwhelm, irritability and panic – all signs associated with anxiety.  Recent events have definitely added to this this week but I’d say my anxiety levels have been creeping up for a few weeks now and this correlates with me coming off my antidepressants (20mg citalopram) that I’d been on for around 7 years. I had my first therapy session yesterday which really helped me look at these feelings differently – the medication helped me immensely when I needed it but with that, for me, came an overall feeling of flatness. I didn’t really know this at the time but there weren’t many highs or lows really, just an overall feeling of being a bit numb to things. But now I’m off the antidepressants I experience the highs and feelings that I haven’t felt in years, but along with that comes the lows. So to give you an example…. I’ve never really felt irritated by my kids before. Crazy, right? Considering Fin is now 9 and Rowan 5. When I told some of my close Mum friends this recently they looked at me like I had two heads! And this didn’t make me proud or feel like some sort of super mum, it actually made me feel pretty sad. Sad that I’ve not really experienced this feeling because on the flipside of this comes with it lots of love and happiness which has inevitably been lacking too. And the old phrase is right – you’ve got to take the highs with the lows. So all of these recent feelings are new to me and massively intensified. I mean, how irritating is it to ask your kids to get dressed five times every morning and don’t even get me started on the noise. I cannot believe this is a new thing to me. WTF?! So whilst I’m learning to deal with these emotions, my therapist says I need to treat myself with kids gloves on. So be kind to myself and work out ways to deal with this added anxiety. Yes I sometimes need the help of my little pink pill but there are definitely other ways I can deal with this and you can to.

Many people’s emotions are intensified with the current situation in the world so it’s no wonder people have been reaching out to me lately for advice and support as well as to offer a helping  hand. My anxiety levels are pretty high. That lump stuck in my throat is not letting me forget it either. It might come as a knot in your stomach or just a general feeling of unease but believe me when I say you won’t be the only one during this time. So what can we do to help ourselves and others? Here are a few things that I’ve found useful but I sure as hell don’t always get it right so give the ones a try you feel might align with you best …..

  1. Breathe. Sounds obvious but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to take myself off and practice mindful breathing. Breathe in deep through your nose and slowly out through your mouth. This helps bring back your inner calm but does take practice, especially in the heat of the moment!
  2. Take one day at a time. I do this always as by looking too far ahead can cause me to feel overwhelmed. Or, try writing a weekly plan to break down tasks and activities that you can tick off along the way. Who doesn’t immediately feel more calm and in control working through a tick list?!
  3. Talk to people and tell them how you are feeling. I’ve started to tell my kids when I’m feeling frustrated when they are not listening to me. More often than not they’ll take notice but I can’t promise this one is going to be 100% effective!!
  4. Sleep. This is my absolute favourite medicine. Not been the easiest recently with everything that’s going on but try to rest at least or grab a 20 minute power nap in the day if you can.
  5. Acknowledge how you are feeling and think about why you are feeling this way. Often when you do this and break down your feelings they don’t seem as bad as you once thought.
  6. Get out of the house. Even if its just for a little walk. I used to hate it when people used to say to me ‘the fresh air will do you good’ when the last thing I wanted to do was leave the comfort of my own home. But my stubborn self hates to say it – it really does help. And if you can bring yourself to whack on a red lippy too then I cant tell you how much better you’ll feel (and it hides the under eye bags/unwashed hair). This I am an expert at!

Much Love,

Lisa x